Tigers Terrific in Ireland

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THOMASTOWN, Ireland -- Tiger Woods is turning the American Express Championship into a real exhibition, shooting his second straight 7-under 65 on Friday to build a two-stroke lead going into the weekend.
 
Woods still hasn't made a bogey in 36 holes at Mount Juliet, and this time he birdied all of the par 5s to get to 14-under 130.
 
'I drove the ball a little better,'' Woods said. 'I hit my irons like I did yesterday and I putted like I did yesterday. All in all, I'm very pleased with my play.''
 
Jerry Kelly also had a 65 and was two strokes behind, giving him the stage with Woods on Saturday for the first time since they were paired together in the final round of The Players Championship last year.
 
Woods went on to win, but Kelly stayed with him and took that confidence on to greater things -- two victories this year, his first two on the PGA Tour.
 
Steve Lowery finally made his first bogey of the tournament on the 16th hole, which dropped him to a 67 for the second round. He was at 133, along with David Toms.
 
Retief Goosen was another stroke back after a 67.
 
Woods not only grabbed the lead, he also got plenty of backing from his U.S. teammates over his comments that it meant more for him to win this World Golf Championship -- and the $1 million prize -- than the Ryder Cup next week in England.
 
'It would be bigger for me, as well,'' Paul Azinger said. 'It's an individual accomplishment. The Ryder Cup is a team. If he plays well here and wins, he's going to have that satisfaction that winning five points at the Ryder Cup -- and losing -- won't give you.''
 
U.S. captain Curtis Strange also chimed in, saying he wasn't bothered that Woods didn't make the Ryder Cup his top priority.
 
'We know Tiger. Whenever he plays, he goes to win,'' Strange said.
 
That appears to be the case this week.
 
Woods took advantage of the par 5s -- although he had only one eagle putt -- and holed a couple of birdie putts outside 15 feet.
 
With a couple of ho-hum rounds at 65, Woods even suggested that the setup at Mount Juliet might be too easy for a World Golf Championship featuring 64 of the best players in the world.
 
'The bigger the tournament, the harder they should make the golf course,'' Woods said. 'The reason why the scores are so low is the greens are so perfect. You can have 20-, 30-footers and feel confident you can make that putt.''
 
British Open champion Ernie Els had a 67 and was five strokes behind at 135, while David Duval had a 65 and joined Davis Love III (67) among those at 136.
 
Woods, who was paired with Padraig Harrington of Ireland in the first round, gets another Irishman on Saturday -- Kelly, who is proud of his Irish heritage, even though he grew up in Wisconsin.
 
'No one has claimed me yet,'' he said of the galleries.
 
He can make quite an impression on Saturday, playing against Woods with a chance to win $1 million at the end of the week.
 

Full-field scores from WGC-American Express Championship